With April budget looming, Liberals still working on leadership process

Despite a looming April budget and ongoing rate mitigation talks, the provincial Liberals are still finalizing details for the party's leadership race.

"My Executive Board continues to finalize the details for the Leadership process," read part of an emailed statement from party executive director Michael King. "Further details will be provided in the coming days."

Dwight Ball announced Monday he was resigning as premier, and leaving politics before the next election. 

He was set to face a leadership review in June, and it's not clear whether the party will push ahead with that or move to have a leader in place sooner. 

Ball did not appoint an interim leader, but did say he wants his replacement chosen soon, so the new premier can be  part of calling the next budget.

King's email statement contained only thanks to Ball for his service.

"On behalf of the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador, I want to thank Premier Ball for his leadership, hard work and dedication to the party and the province," it said.

"Our government has dealt with some of the province's toughest challenges since entering Confederation but the premier's steady hand and dedicated leadership has kept us moving forward. His commitment to making Newfoundland and Labrador a better place for people to work, live and grow their families is unwavering."

Another premier, another election

Under a law brought in by former Progressive Conservative Premier Danny Williams, an election will has to happen within a year of a new premier taking office.

Some seasoned politicians are staying away from the idea, and while there are names being thrown around as potential leadership candidates, there are also questions about whether they have the skills to take over what during such a tough time in provincial politics.

Peter Cowan/CBC

"It's true we have limited experience among a lot of people who want to hold the position, and until we foster a structure that makes it easier for people to come into politics, spend time, get experience and be well positioned to become premier ... I think we kind of hurt ourselves," said Memorial University political scientist Kelly Blidook.

"Being premier of the province is hard, and if you look over Mr. Ball's time as premier there hasn't been a lot of good news."

Blidook said Ball's resignation is an opportunity for all parties to jockey for position in the House. 

He said, for now, he's uncertain whether or not Ball's resignation is good news or bad news for the Progressive Conservatives.  

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